Suffering from one of many anxiety disorders can cause a person to feel isolated and detached. Unfortunately, most don't fully comprehend their condition, and this can cause them to withdraw from family and friends. Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions in the United States, with approximately 18% of the population receiving a diagnosis of one or more forms of anxiety.
Sadly, because of the stigma that comes with being mentally ill, most afflicted people shy away from treatment and choose to keep their anxiety disorder a secret. Fortunately, mental health professionals are actively working to change that. I've taken the initiative and listed some interested facts and statistics below.
The Six Different Kinds Of Anxiety Disorders
Currently, there are six different forms of anxiety disorders. They are:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Panic Disorder (panic attacks)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Specific Phobias
Most symptoms of anxiety are incredibly difficult to control. Some of the more severe symptoms include shortness of breath, increased heart rate, dizziness, and feeling like the mind is racing. Even the most common tasks begin to feel overwhelming and frightening.
If a person already suffers from sleep related issues such as insomnia, difficulty falling and staying asleep, sleep paralysis, night terrors, or sleep apnea, this can cause a host of both physical and mental problems and overwhelm the individual even more. It's also common for sleep deprived persons to suffer from stronger and more pronounced effects of anxiety.
On the whole, studies show that women suffer from anxiety more than men, although obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and social anxiety disorder affect both sexes equally.
The Relationship Between Anxiety And Depression
People who suffer from anxiety usually also suffer from depression. Due to the evident relationship between anxiety and depression, symptoms can often become compounded and much more severe. While anyone who suffers from anxiety should not hesitate to ask for help, it's critical that those also afflicted with depression seek immediate assistance as the likelihood of self-harming is compounded.
Treatment is a powerful tool in overcoming anxiety. The proper treatment program can help you to understand your affliction and provide you with the necessary tools and skills to overcome it.
The Effect Of Anxiety On Your Sense Of Smell
I was quite surprised to learn that people who have an anxiety disorder will often describe an object as having a foul odor, even when the item in question has no apparent smell at all. This is explained by a change in the nervous system when an individual begins to experience a bout of anxiety. The brain will start to interpret smells differently. This leads to the afflicted person perceiving that something smells awful, when in fact it may have no odor at all or even smell pleasant to most other people.
Treating Anxiety Naturally
If you do not want to rely on prescription medication to treat your anxiety, there are many natural remedies that may give you some relief. A twenty minute session of rigorous exercise may help, and can be done routinely or immediately following a stressful encounter. When you encounter something stressful, adrenaline may build up in the body and trigger your brain's "fight or flight" response. Exercising can help relieve the tension from the adrenaline buildup and it can also help relax your muscles.
Meditation is incredibly effective because you can use it to regulate your breathing. This technique will slow your heart rate and increase oxygen flow to your brain which will calm your nervous system and help reduce tension. Eliminating fried foods and foods with an extremely high sugar content will also aid in reducing anxiety. Controlling your carbohydrate intake is also instrumental in regulating stress and anxiety.
Anxiety And Genetics
It stands to reason that if both parents have a history of anxiety, this raises the chances of it being passed down to their offspring. Nature versus nurture also enters the picture in terms of the environment a child is brought up in. If a child witnesses domestic violence or is abused physically or mentally, chances of developing an anxiety related condition in adulthood increase.
Anxiety And Sensitivity To Facial Expressions
It's worth mentioning that those afflicted with anxiety are often more sensitive to other people's feelings. In many cases, they can even judge a change in how a person is feeling based on that individual's facial expressions. Although some may view that as having a special insight into the moods of others, the fact remains that it can be detrimental, especially if the facial expression is misinterpreted.
Many people who suffer from anxiety may claim that their "mind is always racing." They also seem to have a tendency to "overthink" things and arrive at certain conclusions which may not always be correct. This can a very substantial source of tension for that person.
Anxiety And Socializing
People with extreme anxiety rarely do well in social situations. It's often quite noticeable. It can be detrimental because their friends and acquaintances may actually begin to avoid them for fear of inadvertently saying something that the afflicted person may find offensive or hurtful. The expression "walking on eggshells" is often used by others when they feel uncomfortable around a person who has anxiety.
One of the most important ways that people who don't suffer from anxiety can help those that do is to educate themselves.
Education is certainly the most effective weapon we can employ to end the stigma that arises towards those who are suffering from extreme anxiety.
CALL (949) 454-0996
DR. CLARE ALBRIGHT, PSY.D.
It may come as a surprise to many, however the fact is that one of the most effective ways of treating anxiety is with psychotherapy, and not just medication alone. Therapy does not cover up the issues causing the anxiety, but rather teaches ways to live with the disorder while keeping it under control.
It’s important to realize, anxiety is not all a bad thing. Our brains are wired to endure a range of emotions, and anxiety is just one of many. It can serve as a warning to an unsafe situation, or to cause one to stop and think about a choice. The problem with anxiety is when it consumes an unmanageable portion of your time.